Restaurant Review: Grafene, King Street in Manchester
A cosmopolitan replica that reflects the success of the four-star Loshill House Hotel and Spa in the village of Hope in the Peak District; Grafene is a restaurant with a winning concept a step ahead the rest. Independently owned by the hotel’s owners Kathryn and Paul Roden, the pair opened Grafene in 2016 – introducing the dining landscape of Manchester to a new 100 seat urban-luxe restaurant that serves British food in its finest contemporary form.
Glossy turquoise tiles line the attractive bar and we perch on stools for a couple of cocktails. Designed by Grafene’s mixologists to create a list that is completely personal to them, their creative collection captures the flavours of the season and drama of the moment. This is certainly true for their signature signpost cocktail. Aquamarine and matching its turquoise backdrop, this dry ice finished cocktail was made with a combination of vodka, pear, pressed apple and lemon and promised an interactive start.
Sat at our table further into the generous restaurant space, the British menu hints at exotic influences that have been gathered on colonial travels throughout the old British Empire. Combined with high quality British ingredients which are at the heart of every dish served at Grafene, this lucrative twist on traditional dining creates a comfortable menu that remains altogether exciting and illustrates the melting pot of culinary ideas that has evolved in our nation’s rich cultural background and in today’s ethnic diversity.
We order roast onion tart with mushroom and truffle and torched mackerel, artichoke puree and dill. Not only combining flavours and textures, the colours across the dishes are in tune with the vibrancy of Grafene’s interior. Roast fillet of cod with cauliflower risotto and a pork belly dish are perfectly cooked and showcase the sourced quality. Sides add further colour to our table and include creamy cauliflower cheese, herb mash and root vegetables. My guest had her eye on the cheesecake since her cocktail earlier on in the evening – white chocolate and topped with spiced clementine, it fuelled fire for another visit.
A variety of menus keep Grafene’s contemporary tables filled whatever day of the week it may be. A new season à la carte menu recently launched in February 2018 and is served every day, whilst exclusively for weekend diners and available Friday and Saturday evenings is a seven-course tasting menu. A refined five-course tasting menu is available to order throughout the week and for Sunday a traditional roast dinner is served all day.
Allowing guests closer to the continuous passionate groundwork of Grafene’s kitchen is an open pastry kitchen that takes centre stage and offers visitors an insight into the hidden workings of the team. For more intimate gatherings away from the spirited main dining space, Grafene also has two private dining areas that specialise in wine tasting and an al fresco terrace area for the warmer seasons.
Grafene: 55 King Street, Manchester M2 4LQ, 01616969700, www.grafene.co.uk